After three interesting games last night the Georgia High School football state championships are continuing in the Georgia Dome today.
This morning's Class A (public) Charlton County/Marion County game doesn't really feature any players I expect to play in the SEC. The AA showdown between Lamar County and Lovett however will include several young men you'll likely see on Saturdays. Lovett senior defensive back/running back Grant Haley shunned an offer from his coach's brother, who somehow is still sort of in charge at Florida, and is pledged to Vanderbilt. Lamar County is led by a trio of 2014 Georgia Tech DB commitments looking to win the last state championship they'll ever really have a shot at: twins Lawrence and Lance Austin and Qua Searcy.
5:30 brings the AAAA battle between Carrollton and Griffin. Carrollton features former Bulldog commit (now considering Georgia, Auburn, and others) Dontavius Russell. The 6'3, 300 pound Russell is surprisingly athletic, and will be a tough assignment even for Griffin's excellent line. He's joined by senior teammates and major college commits kicker Tyler Newsome (Notre Dame), tight ends Cole Cook (N.C. State) & Brandon Walton (Appalachian State), and Jake Sanders (Duke).
The Griffin Bears are stacked with junior talent, led by Bulldog commit and likely national top 100 player WR Christian Owens. The 6'4, 205 pound Owens is a matchup issue and a really good blocker who I think could do great things in Athens. He's joined in the Griffin receiving corps by Darquavious Mangham and Keyston Fuller. Mangham claims an early offer from Vandy, while Fuller has offers from North Carolina and Georgia Tech but also maintains interest in the 'Dawgs.
That's followed by the AAAAAA game between Norcross and North Gwinnett, which will look a lot like a collegiate freshman intrasquad scrimmage. Truly, there are BCS conference football teams that would take a signing class composed of nothing but players who'll be on the field in this one game. The biggest name will be Norcross senior defensive end/linebacker Lorenzo Carter, considered by many the top 2014 prospect in the state of Georgia, and the biggest target left on the Bulldogs' board for this February. Carter needs to grow into his body and improve his technique. But the kid is the type of athlete you build a defense around. He reminds me of a slightly bigger Leonard Floyd, if you're looking for a comparison. Six other Norcross seniors have already pledged to play college football: linebacker Kevin Mouhon (Tennessee), tight end Chris Herndon (Miami), safety Jordan Noil (Maryland), running back Josh Boyd (Appalachian State), and receivers Clinton Lynch and Masseaiah Francis (both pledged to Georgia State).
The 'Dawgs are also still recruiting senior receiver/tailback/athlete Myles Autry, a dangerous guy with the ball in his hands, who also claims offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State and Oklahoma (among a couple of dozen others). He'll run behind a massive offensive line that includes prospects Horatio Walker (with offers from Georgia State and Miami of Ohio) and Trenton Jenkins (who claims an offer from Louisville and interest from others, including Georgia). QB A.J. Bush claims an offer from Kansas State, and at least a couple of other Norcross seniors will likely play for smaller programs across the southeast. By my count at least 12 Norcross seniors have offers from Division 1 football programs. That's kind of unreal. Also, keep an eye on junior offensive and defensive lineman DeAndre Plaintin.
North Gwinnett is loaded for both the senior and junior classes. One guy who you'll no doubt see a lot of is wide receiver Nate Brown. Brown, a Missouri commitment, has really blown up during a record-setting senior campaign. He's seen his recruitment heat up, and Georgia is among the schools to recently offer him. The Bulldogs will likely pursue Brown all the way to National Signing Day if necessary. Believe me, this kid is special. Fellow senior Dante Sawyer, a 6'3, 235 pound defensive end also has SEC offers, including one from the 'Dawgs. If I had to bet I'd imagine Sawyer ends up at South Carolina, though Tennessee and Missouri are also in the hunt for his services. Running Back C.J. Leggett claims offers from Vandy, UCLA, Pittsburgh, and Yale (smart guys FTW!).
North Gwinnett also features some talented juniors, including offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt.The 6'5, 260 pound standout may be the top player in Georgia for 2015, and made his name as a sophomore last season when he held his own against former Grayson, current Ole Miss standout Robert Nkemdiche. Hyatt is smart, has great feet, and is strong for his size. Unfortunately the smart money has him signing with childhood favorite Clemson. However, the Georgia coaches have signaled that they won't give up on him without a fight. Hyatt's joined by linebacker Anree Saint-Amour, who claims scholarships from Boston College, Missouri, and Tennessee. Teammate Jaye Stackhouse doesn't have major offers yet, but might end up in Chapel Hill, where his dad played a little basketball.
So enjoy the rest of the day's festivities from Atlanta. You'll be able to say you saw some of the best football players in the country way back when. Until later . . .